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In The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs lays out the excuses we give to justify our discontent. Then counteracts each one. He doesn’t go easy on us.
See how many excuses are yours. Unfortunately, I claim several already.
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The first seven of Mr. Burrough’s thirteen excuses (in my own words):
I have a right to complain because…
1. I’m really not even complaining; I’m just telling it how it is.
- Then why aren’t you also telling of God’s grace in your problem? That’s also “how it is.”
- Then why have you stopped doing the good things you could be doing, even with this problem?
- Then why are you envious of others who don’t have your problem?
2. I’m not troubled by my problem; I’m just troubled by my sin.
- Then why weren’t you bothered by your sin before you got in trouble for it?
- Then why aren’t you bothered by your sin once the problem goes away?
- Then why aren’t you doubly concerned about adding grumbling on top of your current sin?
- Then shouldn’t you now be even more submissive under God’s hand in the midst of this problem?
3. I think God has abandoned me in my trouble.
- Does it honor God for you to blame him if he is disciplining you?
- Are you grumbling because God is gone, or is God gone because you are grumbling?
- Even if God were distant from you, do you think it’s helpful for you to leave him as well?
4. If it were God disciplining me, I wouldn’t complain. But it’s people.
- Isn’t man but an instrument in God’s hand?
- Aren’t you in a better state by being wronged, instead of being the one doing the wrong?
- Even if men are doing evil, shouldn’t you still be praising God for the mercies that he is giving you?
5. It caught me off guard; otherwise, I would handle it better.
- Do you really never expect things to go wrong?
- Don’t you have unexpected blessings as well? Do you grumble when they catch you off guard?
6. My problems are exceptionally hard.
- Isn’t your sin still greater than your troubles?
- Couldn’t it be even worse? You could be in hell.
- Aren’t you making your problems even greater by complaining about them all the time?
7. My pain is worse than your pain.
- Could your discontent be making it worse?
- Even if yours is worse, should you complain that God is gracious to others?
- Don’t you then have a greater opportunity to honor God more than others?
- If all pain were equally divided, wouldn’t yours still be below average?
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Which is your favorite excuse? Better think twice the next time you want to use it….
Next: Excuses # 8 – 13